Team Liquid have won their second consecutive LCS Lock in title in a 3-0 triumph over Evil Geniuses.
After TL won the 2022 LCS Lock In, top laner Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau spoke to Inven Global about sweeping EG out of the finals, his own level of play across the weekend, returning to his original of top lane after jungling for Fnatic last year, and the current state of top lane in the competitive meta.
EG came into the final favored to win by the analyst desk, but not only did you end up beating them, you did so in convincing fashion. What gave Team Liquid the edge today?
I'm not sure. *laughs* I think they underperformed a little bit. Inspired didn't have the greatest of days and I think that hurt them. It happens; you can't always have a fantastic performance. In general, I think everyone on our team stepped up fantastically. Everyone on the team played their part really well. I did a lot less work than the series we played on Friday and it wasn't even noticeable. We still had a fantastic series.
TL played the same lineup the whole weekend with Academy support Bill "Eyla" Nguyen subbing in for Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-In to allow you and Steven "Hans sama" Liv to start. Can you talk about the process of deciding to run one roster for the semifinals and the finals?
I don't really have great insight on who we play, I just try my best to support whatever lineup is currently starting. Sometimes, that means not playing myself and just trying to give Bradley the best advice I can give him in order to get his mind into the game so he can do his best. From my perspective, I don't have any insight on who plays or who doesn't. All I care about is that I do my best to support the lineup whether it's in or outside of the game.
Based on your performance, it seems like you've had no trouble transitioning back to top lane after jungling for the majority of last year. How have you been able to make this transition so quickly?
All things considered, jungling is still playing League of Legends, right? You saw today that I was still really rusty. I've never played Gangplank into Gwen because Gwen is relatively new and Gangplank is a champion that you only play in top lane. I haven't played much Gangplank at all and I think that really showed in my laning phase. *laughs* I'm going to try and get ahead of everyone who thinks that I don't have flaws right now.
Obviously, there is a lot of good stuff going on that I am proud of, but all things considered, I just try to put myself in a good position and then just play the game. I think that's the main thing; I just think about playing the video game. I don't complicate things too much: I take fights when I think they're good, I don't take them when I think they're bad, I wait for my item spikes and I try to communicate the best I can with my team about what I want to do in the game. That's basically it.
I'm really not trying very hard to play a particularly difficult game. I'm really just trying to do my best. I took care of a lot of my own mental stuff and I'm making sure that I'm always trying to be positive and contribute to the team in a positive way no matter what. I have my own support system for that which I am very, very grateful for and that's just how I roll.
I'm just playing League of Legends, like I would play a solo queue game, and I think that's the best way to play: no hesitation on plays I think are good, and a lot of hesitation on plays makes me think that I shouldn't even make them or go there. *laughs* I think that is the most valuable trait you can have as a professional player in high-pressure matches.
Recognizing when it's worth going somewhere and when it's not is why I end up getting so far ahead. I'm very consistent in my decision making and where I do or don't want to be on the map.
There has been much discussion in the pro community about top lane having less influence on the game as a whole this season. As someone who's been able to have a large presence in the top lane this weekend, what are your thoughts on the current position in top lane in context of competitive League of Legends?
It's harder to have an impact early on, but later on, your Teleport cooldown is actually shorter than it used to be. Teleport has a six-minute cooldown, then after fourteen minutes, it upgrades to Unleashed Teleport and only has a four-minute cooldown. If you're playing with runes like Cosmic Insight or building Ionian Boots of Lucidity — some champions do both — then you end up in a situation where you're actually able to Teleport much more frequently.
Even if you don't have those type of runes, at four minutes, a four-minute cooldown means your Teleport cooldown is shorter for a majority of the game than it used to be, which means you can do things like save your Teleport for every single drake fight. That means you can farm a boatload in the mid-game and always make sure you can Teleport to dragon fights, which has kind of been my strategy. I just farm a boat load and then I join my team when I absolutely need to.
I'm not sure if it's the best way to play, but like I said, it's the way I like playing in solo queue and so far, it's worked alright. There have been some hiccups — this last Volibear game, for example, I was not able to be as strong as I would like because my laning phase was quite poor.
However, in every other game, I felt very strong coming into the mid-game fights thanks to this strategy of making sure I get nice and big and then using Teleport to compensate for the fact that I'm taking extra waves. I'm taking waves while the enemy top laner is pressuring, and then I'm coming late to the fight.
As a result, every single time I do it, I'm taking one or maybe even two waves more than the opposing top laner. Then, all of a sudden I'm one level up at the third or fourth drake. *laughs* Sometimes this will turn into a 30-40 CS lead which is the equivalent of like 800 gold. That tends to stack up, and all of a sudden, you're 1-2 levels and 1,000 gold up, or even more depending on how well the early game went, at 30 minutes.
This has kind of been my strategy, and I'm not sure if it's the best, but all things considered, League of Legends is still the same. Whether you're top laning or jungling, if you're big and initiate fights well, then that's that. I think I have probably half of my teams deaths, so this isn't to say I'm playing without flaws. *laughs* I just do my best. I get in there.
You played against Impact in today's series, who is one of the best top laners in the region. What other top laners are you looking forward to facing in the LCS Spring Split that you didn't have a chance to play against in Lock In?
All of them. That's the beauty of a split: you get to play two games against every single player and you get to test your strength against all of them more than once. They get to grow, you get to grow, and depending on which matchup you drafted the first time, you may have a different matchup the next time. That's really what's exciting about a split to me. It's all about consistently running back the rematch. It's really interesting to me and that's what I enjoy most about the regular split format.
Thanks for the interview, Bwipo, and congratulations on winning the 2022 LCS Lock In. Is there anything you want to say to the fans of the now two-time Lock In champion TL?
I'm very proud that we were able to pull in the win. I want to win it all right from the start and I feel very comfortable with the performance I've been able to display knowing that I have much more to give. The fact that I know I can give a lot more than this is the most important thing to me.
It feels very good to be appreciated by the community and everyone on Team Liquid even though I'm not playing perfectly. I'm still making my errors, but it feels like that part of me has been accepted. It's like they know that this is the price to pay for some action. *laughs* That makes me happy because, honestly, that's how it is. You can't make every play perfectly. Mistakes are necessary to improve one's decision making.
You will never be able to play League of Legends while calculating everything on every single decision. Sometimes, playing on feeling a little bit is necessary. I'm all about being comfortable with making mistakes and taking the fights I believe are going to be the best. Figuring out how to optimize that play is something I'm going to continue to try and work on, and hopefully I can continue to pull good results.
I know that sometimes I will do some stupid things, make big mistakes, and have poor results. I hope people can remember the good times more than the bad because I am about pushing limits. I am here for more than just winning LCS. Internationally, you must play at your absolute maximum and being scared of picking fights is not a way to win on the international stage.